Which Business Card Is Best: Amex Business Gold vs. Ink Business Preferred
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The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card has been a TPG business card favorite since its launch in 2016, and it remains one of the best business credit cards available. The mid-tier American Express® Business Gold Card was revamped in late 2018 with a reimagined rewards structure and the addition of a few perks. Both cards can add a lot of value to a small business owner's wallet, yet each offers its own unique strengths and benefits. Let's compare the two across several criteria, including earning potential, perks and even welcome offers to see which card might come out on top for your own business needs.
According to our most recent point valuations, both Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards are worth 2 cents each — which means the Ink Business Preferred bonus far outshines the Amex Business Gold. The Ink Preferred's bonus is more than triple what Amex is currently offering new cardholders, plus it's easier to earn unless your business is planning on spending a lot of money on shipping within the next three months. In comparison to 100,000 points, a $500 statement credit available at just one business is abysmal.
One important note when applying for these cards is to be aware of each issuer's application restrictions. Chase's infamous 5/24 rule does apply to business cards like the Ink Preferred so you'll need to have applied for fewer than five credit cards in the last 24 months to be eligible for it. However, the good news is that once you're approved, the new card won't add to your 5/24 total since business cards generally don't count against 5/24. So the Ink Business Preferred is an excellent card to get if you're currently around 4/24, as you'll be eligible for it but won't increase your 4/24 total if you get the card.
American Express has a simpler "one bonus per card per lifetime" rule, which makes now a very bad time to apply for the Amex Business Gold since you won't be able to take advantage if a better bonus is offered down the line. The good news is that the current Amex Business Gold offer will end in November, so it's possible we'll see a reinstatement of a point-based welcome offer by the end of the year. Until then, however, the Ink Business Preferred takes the cake in this category.
Winner: Ink Business Preferred (by a long shot)
|Ink Business Preferred||Amex Business Gold Card|
|Points Multiplier||3x||4x on the top two categories each billing cycle|
|Earning Cap||Earn bonus rewards on up to $150,000 in combined purchases annually; 1x on all other purchases||Earn bonus rewards on up to $150,000 in combined purchases annually; 1x on all other purchases|
Both cards come with a competitive rewards structure. The Ink Preferred offers a solid 3x points on travel and select business purchases. Chase defines travel broadly, meaning you'll earn rewards on everything from flights to hotels to cruises to rentals to even taxis or rideshares. The Business Gold has an interesting rewards structure in that it will cater to your business' needs. Throughout the month, you earn 1x points for each purchase. At the end of each billing cycle, Amex will evaluate your bill and award an additional retroactive 3 points (4x points total) on purchases fall into the top two categories from their list that you spend the most in in each billing cycle. You don’t have to enroll or know in advance which categories you want — Amex will do that legwork for you.
The Business Gold's structure offers a more comprehensive category list and is better for businesses who have shifting business needs throughout the year, while the Ink Preferred is better if you're spending equal amounts across multiple categories each month. At the end of the day, the Business Gold has a higher earning potential, but remember that you won't earn points across all five categories each month. Both cards have a $150,000 cap on purchases that earn bonus points, but you'll earn 4x points with Amex over the Ink Preferred's 3x.
Winner: Amex Business Gold
|Ink Business Preferred||Amex Business Gold|
|Direct Redemptions for Airfare||1.25 cents||1 cent (but with a 25% rebate on some redemptions)|
|TPG Value of Points||2 cents||2 cents|
|Number of Transfer Partners||12||22|
When it comes to direct redemptions, you’re often getting the best value from Ink Preferred because of the 25% redemption bonus with Chase across all airfare redemptions. Plus, if you also have a Chase Sapphire Reserve, it gets even better because you can pool your rewards and redeem them for a 50% bonus. On the other hand, while Amex offers a 25% rebate (up to 250,000 points back each year) when you use Pay with Points for flights, there are limitations to that program — it only applies to flights booked on the one airline of your choice (which you select once per year) or on first and business class flights on any airline. That's a lot more limiting than the Chase flat 25% bonus.
Both Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards have very valuable transfer partners. With Chase, you have access to 12 transfer partners, including United, Southwest and Hyatt. You can get some amazing redemptions when transferring to Hyatt, like booking the Dukes London (which houses the famous DUKES bar said to have inspired Ian Fleming's James Bond novels) for only 25,000 points a night. Or transfer points to United, where you and two friends could fly roundtrip in economy from Newark (EWR) to Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO) for just 50,000 points total.
Amex's Membership Rewards program has a ton of partners as well, including Delta, Singapore Airlines and Air Canada's Aeroplan. Amex also frequently runs transfer bonus promotions for partners, which can be lucrative. Chase only just offered a transfer bonus for the first time ever, and it's not yet clear whether that will become a (welcome) trend.
In the end, you’ll find value with both programs, and neither is short on transfer partner options. However, Chase pulls slightly ahead because of the consistent 25% bonus on direct redemptions, and the potential for a 50% bonus when combined with the CSR.
Winner: Ink Business Preferred
|Ink Business Preferred||Amex Business Gold|
|Purchase Protection||Up to $10,000 per claim and up to $50,000 per account||Up to $1,000 per purchase and up to $50,000 per year|
|Trip Delay and Cancellation Coverage||Up to $500 per ticket for delays of 12 hours or longer; up to $5,000 per trip in cancellation insurance||N/A|
|Travel Accident Insurance||Up to $500,000 in common carrier loss of life coverage and up to $100,000 in 24-hour loss of life coverage||Up to $100,000 in accidental death and dismemberment coverage|
|Extended Warranty||Extends manufacturer's warranty by one additional year||Extends manufacturer's warranty by up to two additional years, depending on length of the original warranty|
|Lost Baggage Insurance||Up to $3,000 per person per covered trip/up to $500 per person per covered trip for jewelry, watches, cameras, video recorders and other electronic equipment||Up to $1,250 for carry-ons and up to $500 for checked baggage|
|Car Rental Insurance||Primary coverage||Secondary coverage|
|Foreign Transaction Fees||None||None (see rates and fees)|
|Card Type||Credit||Charge (with Pay Over Time option)|
|Annual Fee||$95||$295 (see rates and fees)|
Both of these cards have some valuable benefits that can help you save money. The most unique and interesting perk is the cell phone protection on the Ink Business Preferred. If you pay your mobile phone bill with the card, each phone on the account will be insured up to $1,000 against any covered damage or theft. You can file three claims per year, and each claim is subject to a $100 deductible. It's a great card to pay for your business' mobile phone plan since all of your employees' lines will be covered as well. And remember that you'll get 3x points when paying your phone bill with the card, sweetening the deal even more.
Both the Ink Preferred and Amex Business Gold include a range of travel and purchase protections, such as trip cancellation coverage, auto rental collision damage waiver insurance, extended warranties and more. Also, it's important to note that the Amex Business Gold is a charge card, which means you'll have no preset spending limit, but will be required to pay off your balance in full each month. However, Amex does offer a Pay Over Time feature for eligible purchases of more than $100. The Ink Business Preferred, on the other hand, is a traditional credit card that comes with a set spending limit and the ability to hold a balance. A business with cash flow issues may like the peace of mind of a traditional credit card, while a business that consistently makes larger purchases may enjoy not having a preset spending limit.
Finally, there's also a major difference in annual fee to consider — the Ink Business Preferred only charges a $95 annual fee, where the Amex Business Gold comes with a $295 annual fee. Of course, if you're maximizing your 4x earning potential, the additional points you'll earn will easily outweigh the higher fee. Still, in the end, the Ink Business Preferred comes out ahead with better travel protections, a lower annual fee and more long-term value with its unique cell phone protection feature.
Winner: Ink Preferred Business
Bottom Line: Which Card Is Right For You?
In general, the Ink Business Preferred is clearly the winner. However, many business owners (including TPG himself) take advantage of both cards. If your business is thriving, I would plan to add both to your wallet. Apply for the Ink Business Preferred first while you're under 5/24, then apply for the Amex Business Gold down the line, hopefully once it's welcome offer is back to a points-based bonus.
For the rates and fees of the Amex Business Gold, click here.
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